The insane British animal freaks
At the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, they hate people. And animals die because their hostility chases away many potential carers. Reminiscent of all the animals that America's PETA kills. Although the RSPCA is a voluntary organization, legislation has given them certain powers and they use that to hurt people if they can. Too bad about the animals
The lady looked up at me sourly. "You're ten minutes too late". They said it would be OK, I pleaded; ten past three - I did ring to check. You see, it's quite hard to find the time and I don't know when... "3pm", she said sharply. "There's no one available to speak to you now." I looked at the bevy of staff loitering around behind the desk, doing nothing much. One woman caught my eye sympathetically. "You can have a quick look round", Ms Timetable said. "Then come back another time."
And then what? "Then you fill in a form." Could I do that now? "No, because there's no one available to interview you." I glanced again at all the staff behind her. Maybe I could fill in the form and leave it? You know, cut out another visit? It was a three-hour round trip, after all. "You have to fill it in with us." Then what "Then they come and visit you at home, see if your house is suitable. And then you can come back and see the dogs..."
I gave up. This was the second RSPCA animal shelter that I had tried to adopt from - the first being unwilling even to let us look around. And three three-hour trips to this joyless centre of bureaucracy, where animals might be tended, but humans are treated with disdain, without the promise of so much as a hamster at the end of it, was more than I could bear.
Then there was the child problem. I had a four-year-old. And the RSPCA will not allow any child under 5 to have a dog; not even if she'll be 4 by the time that it arrives. Except in special circumstances. Which were? No one would tell me. I had to jump through their hoops first, with the almost certain promise of rejection at the end of it.
It's funny how many RSPCA refuseniks you come across once you become one yourself. There was the man who was told that he could have a cat only if he built platforms under the skylights in his London flat - in case the cat climbed across the roof and fell through the window. Or the woman in a rural area who was advised to heighten her fence to 20ft, because some cats like to jump high. And a mother (the owner of two happy dogs) in Norfolk who simply screamed: "RSPCA? Forget it!"
When you see the "Pet Adoption Week" campaign being launched by the RSPCA next week, with Badger the starving terrier who was rescued by a television presenter, remember these stories.
I wouldn't normally have bothered to remark on this. If the charity wants to put down more animals than is necessary, that's its business. Its, and the people who fund it: the RSPCA has an annual income of more than 100 million pounds, and about 200 million in assets, plus many millions more in its 174 branches around the country (the one that I looked up, Solent, had 3.8 million tucked away). The British give more to animal charities than to charities for the disabled. One donkey sanctuary in Devon has higher income than all the main charities fighting abuse against women combined. Still, your business. Give money to what you like.
But now the RSPCA, in its joylessness, is telling schools that they can no longer have pets. Research by the charity has found that a quarter of schools own pets, ranging from a hermit crab to a horse. Hurrah! A small piece of chaos, of life, amid the regimented drilling that we call school. Not for much longer - the RSPCA believes there is a danger that the kids might be too noisy, or the lighting conditions could be wrong, and that the classroom pet may receive variable care from different families at evenings or weekends.
If the RSPCA has its way, no more generations of kids will be taught to care for the school guinea pig or rabbit, or hermit crab; no more learning responsibility and respect for animals, no feeling the joy of holding a live thing in their hands. Laughably, the charity suggests that schools should get a soft toy instead to teach children about animal welfare. This is no joke. They really do want to stop it. The charity has sent all schools a letter warning them of their duties under the draconian Animal Welfare Act introduced at its own urging two years ago. That Act imposed a duty of care on any adult in charge of a pet, or any adult responsible for a child who is in possession of an animal.
Now the RSPCA has told schools to name a single person responsible for the rabbit's welfare, so that they can hold that person to account. The 2006 Act gave uniformed RSPCA officers the right to enter non-domestic properties without a warrant (they can enter your home only with a warrant, but they like people to believe otherwise) to check for animal rights abuses. Find a hamster being teased by Harry and the nominated teacher could face up to a year in jail. We must not let these people bully the life out of schools.
I went to a different animal sanctuary in the end. They sent over Dave to see whether I might be able to have a cat (I was running with the cat idea by then). A morose individual, like so many animal obsessives, Dave carefully checked for feline dangers, telling me to be sure to keep the cat shut indoors at night in case it got run over. Isn't depriving a cat of the night a bit like depriving a human being of light? Night-time hunting is what a cat does.
But then, I'm just someone who likes animals. I'm not an obsessive. I think that's healthy. I like humans too. There seems to be a distinction between being a human and being an "animal lover" akin to the difference between riding a bicycle and being a "cyclist". The militants are similarly at a loss for any sense of humour or humanity. In the end, we bought a puppy. Please don't tell the RSPCA.
'Children happier under care of grandparents'
No! Force them into government run pre-schools and kindergartens! That's what the British and other Leftist governments are planning anyway
Academics at Oxford University and the Institute of Education, London, found that grandparents can help young children because they often have more time to spend with them than working parents. They are good at solving their problems as well as discussing their future plans. The survey of more than 1,500 children also discovered that grandparents could help keep them calm during crises such as divorce. Researchers found that one grandmother in three regularly looked after a grandchild, while 40 per cent helped out occasionally. But they believe that more grandparents should become involved in care to improve their grandchildren's well-being, and that the Government should do more to recognise their importance to society.
Prof Ann Buchanan, the director of the Centre for Research into Parenting and Children in the Department of Social Policy and Social Work at Oxford University, said: "What was especially interesting was the link between involved grandparents and adolescent well-being. Closeness was not enough: only grandparents who got stuck in had this positive impact on their grandchildren." The study's findings will be discussed at the annual meeting of the Grandparents' Association in London on Wednesday.
The survey encountered one teenager who claimed that his grandmother "taught us to read and write", and another whose grandparents discussed with him not only what GCSEs to take but what universities he should apply to and what career to take. A 12-year-old girl said her grandmother comforted her when she was being bullied at school. Grandparents who were healthy, lived in less-deprived areas and had regular contact with their grandchildren were found to have the most involvement in their upbringing.
The children questioned said it did not matter how far away their grandparents lived, because they could keep in touch using technology such as mobile phones and email.
Islamic extremists should get therapy, British government tells local councils
Police and councils have been told to avoid putting some Islamic extremists through the criminal justice system
Members of extremist groups have have not "clearly" committed a crime would receive therapy and counselling under new Government plans to "deradicalise" religious fanatics. The Home Office is to announce an extra 12.5 million pounds to support new initiatives to try to stop extremism spreading. The central element of the Home Office plan is a new national "deradicalisation" programme that would persuade converts to violent and extremist causes to change their views. Controversially, the new plan makes clear that people who fall under the influence of violent organisations will not automatically face prosecution.
The Government says the presumption should now be that individuals who have not yet committed a crime would face therapy and counselling from community groups instead of being sanctioned. Documents being distributed to local councils explain that many people who get drawn into extremism have often suffered some sort of personal trauma or crisis that makes them vulnerable to exploitation. "We do not want to put through the criminal justice system those who are vulnerable to, or are being drawn into, violent extremism unless they have clearly committed an offence," a Home Office report says. "It is vital that individuals and communities understand this and have the confidence to use the support structures that we shall be developing."
A Home Office spokesman today insisted radicals who break the law will still be prosecuted: A spokesman said: "The police and the Criminal Justice Service will still those who prosecute people who commit offences and the guidance makes absolutely clear this is about preventing people being drawn into criminality and rehabilitating those that have not been."
Most of the new funding will be set aside for grants to community groups that challenge the messages of violent extremists should be supported. The plan includes a suggestion that local councils should map their areas religion, surveying and recording the faiths and denominations of local residents. New guidelines for councils say: "A deeper understanding of local communities should be developed to help inform and focus the programme of action - this may include mapping denominational backgrounds and demographic and socio-economic factors."
The Home Office has told councils they must be prepared to ask police to vet anyone involved in projects that receive government anti-radicalisation funding. If a group is found to be promoting violent extremism, local agencies and the police should consider disrupting or removing funding, and deny access to public facilities, the document added.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said: "A key element of our strategy aims to stop people getting involved in extremist violence. "We are investing at local level to build resilient communities, which are equipped to confront violent extremism and support the most vulnerable individuals."
Shadow home secretary David Davis said of today's publication: "This is pointless when the Government is fuelling the problem it is seeking to solve with its draconian approach to 42 days."
Feminists have tragically misled many women
Comment from Australia
The strategic silences of feminism are having profound effects on society. For all the brilliant choices ushered in for women - the freedom to forge ahead with careers, to stay single, if that was their wish, not to be tied down by family and babies, if that was their choice - feminism failed women by refusing to inform them that their new-found choices came at a price.
By failing to remind women about their biology and their declining fertility, feminism deliberately ignored the innate desire of most women to have a child. The silence continues. It is there in the classroom where, like previous generations of young girls, the present generation is still not taught that fertility cannot be taken for granted. Fortunately, there are moves to fill in the silence about infertility. If it happens, it may allow young women to make more fully informed choices about work and babies, avoiding the sorrow that afflicted many of their childless forerunners.
Unlike women in the 1950s and '60s, the liberated generation of women that followed in the '70s and '80s had the world at their feet. Yet feminism's mantra of choice made little room for women who chose to eschew careers for babies. Indeed, if we are honest, feminism never had much time for babies. Having babies meant leaving the workplace, opting out of the career track, at least for a time. With its unwavering focus on encouraging women to make great strides in the professions, making their presence felt in the boardroom, the courtroom and parliament, the feminist movement deliberately ignored motherhood as a legitimate choice for women.
The cost of feminism's silence about fertility is etched in the faces of those women who pursued dazzling careers and carefree singledom but ended up childless. Women such as ABC presenter Virginia Haussegger, who a few years ago openly wrote about the price she paid for listening to the feminist mothers, who encouraged us to reach for the sky but failed to tell us the truth about our biological clock. Said Haussegger: "Here we are, supposedly 'having it all' as we edge 40; excellent education; good qualifications, great jobs. It's a nice caffe-latte kind of life, really." But something was missing. "I am childless and I am angry. Angry that I was so foolish to take the word of my feminist mothers as gospel. Angry that I was daft enough to believe female fulfilment came with a leather briefcase."
The cost of feminism's silence about infertility is engraved in the experiences of those who, having delayed motherhood and unable to conceive, underwent in-vitro fertilisation at a great physical and emotional cost. Women such as Jodi Panayotov, who described how her mental anguish at not becoming pregnant had her rifling through her rubbish bin to check whether the second line on her discarded pregnancy test had appeared in the hour since she threw it there, along with dozens of others. "If I thought IVF would be the answer to both my reproductive issues and my mental issues, I was mistaken. Yes, it produced a baby. But it took ages to recover from the emotional toll."
Infertility affects one in six Australian couples. While the causes are many, a woman's age is a critical factor. By age 26, a woman's rate of infertility doubles from one in 10 to one in five. By her mid-30s, a woman has a 15 per cent of becoming pregnant each month. By her early 40s, it falls to 5 per cent. Add in miscarriage rates of 25 per cent for women aged 35 to 39, and 50 per cent for women aged 40 to 44, and the rate of chromosomal abnormalities, which increases from a risk of one in 600 for a 20-year-old woman to one in 39 for a 42-year-old woman, and one realises that female fertility is not a given.
Of course, with male infertility accounting for 40 per cent of cases, there is a need for both sexes to understand fertility. Unfortunately, there is a profound gap between perception and reality. A study by the Fertility Society of Australia in 2006 found that 57 per cent of women in their 30s and 43 per cent of women in their 40s believed they would be able to conceive without any problems. The survey of 1200 women and 1200 men found that 40 per cent of childless men and women in their 30s were still saying they were not ready to have a child. While choosing to marry later and have babies even later may fit the career choices of young men and women, the report concluded that "a real tragedy could occur if these people reach their late 30s and decide they have changed their minds and do want children, only to find that it is biologically too late for them".
The FSA recommended an education program informing young people about their fertility. Last week, a similar plea was made in Britain by new Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority head Lisa Jardine.
It is a message echoed by Candice Reed and Rebecca Featherstone, two young women who call themselves "IVF-lings". Reed, a journalist in New Zealand, was Australia's first IVF baby, born in 1980. Featherstone, a Sydney agent for media personalities, was conceived in Bourne Hall, Cambridge, where Louise Brown, the world's first IVF baby, was born. In the next few weeks, Reed and Featherstone will be sending letters to state education and health ministers across Australia asking that schoolchildren be taught about fertility and IVF.
Featherstone told The Australian students were not receiving enough information. "The only things I was taught at school were about sexual education, condoms and STDs, that sort of stuff. I never learned anything about infertility or how many people go through IVF. I was never taught how a woman's fertility decreases." Ask a schoolteacher. Nothing has changed.
Featherstone says it's critical that young girls learn about their biology. "They may hold off having babies and do the career thing. And then they're like: 'Oh no, I'm 35 and I'll have to do IVF.' She says IVF should not be treated lightly as a fallback position for the next generation of career women. "It's not something nice to go through."
With studies showing that mothers in their late 30s and 40s who have baby girls are perhaps compromising their daughters' ability to have children, the trickle-down consequences of infertility will be profound and many of them yet unknown. One thing is clear. For all of feminism's focus on women's choices, its failure to treat motherhood as a legitimate choice did women no favours.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.